Thursday, January 29, 2009

How Putin became victim of Yulia Tymoshenko's political schemes

Below I've loosely translates more portions from the most interesting 'Russian Newsweek' article I mentioned in my previous blog.

In October 2008 Putin accommodated Tymoshenko's demands when they both signed a joint gas memorandum in Moscow. She returned to Kyiv full of success.

A source in the [Russian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained to 'Russian Newsweek' that by the end of December last year gas contracts for delivery of Russian gas to Ukraine were all drawn up and ready to go. These were practically the same contracts that were signed on January 19th 2009 to end this winter's gas crisis...

But at the end of December Tymoshenko told Putin during telephone conversation that Yushchenko should have the last word on the new gas deal. Putin had called her on December 30th proposing the same terms agreed in October, i.e. transition to a formula for calculating the price of gas, the mean annual price for 2009 to be $250 per tcm ($235 if gas were to be taken away gas from"Rosukrenergo"), and a preferential transit rate for Russian gas over Ukrainian territory.

Both Tymoshenko and Gazprom now declare that the negotiations were disrupted by RosUkrEnergo, who offered Gazprom a higher price of $285 per tcm, but Gazprom apparently turned this down. This prompted Yushchenko to recall the 'Naftohaz Ukrainy' delegation from Moscow, and Putin, without naming Yushchenko by name, accused the Ukrainian authorities of corruption.

But some 'Russian Newsweek' sources do not support this version of events. They claim that on December 31st it was Tymoshenko herself who broken off the negotiations.

According to their source in the Kremlin, she called Putin and told him that she could not come to Moscow because "Yushchenko would not let her return home, or would arrest her".

Other source familiar with events adds that an infuriated Putin began to break off the negotiations himself. He called head of Gazprom Alexey Miller to tell him that the head 'Naftohaz', Oleh Dubyna, was not mandated by Yushchenko, and until Yushchenko confirmed his mandate no negotiations could take place. On 31st December at 9.30 p.m. Dubyna flew back to Kyiv. "They launched a war against Yushchenko", concluded the Kremlin official.

Ukrainian political adviser Dmytro Vydrin indirectly confirms this. Yushchenko, he says, could not prevent Tymoshenko's visit to Moscow.

Gazprom stopped delivery of gas for Ukraine. Ukraine, in order to provide transit of gas to Europe, began siphoning off 'technical gas' and European consumers immediately started to experience shortages. The Europeans understood that they had to get involved.

At this moment, but before a full termination of gas shipments, Putin ostensibly let prime minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolanek, who is currently president of the European Union, know that he would be able to achieve agreement with Tymoshenko if the European Union applied sufficient pressure on Yushchenko.

Topolanek refused, and the situation became deadlocked. Gas transit was stopped completely, and the chairman of European Commission, Manuel Barroso, started to put the squeeze on Yushchenko. According to some sources, on January 16th, Putin secretly met with Tymoshenko in Dresden, and there they came to an agreement. Within three days all the official contracts had been signed. Tymoshenko again returned to Kyiv a winner, and Yushchenko's political prospects became even dimmer.

4 comments:

Gene said...

Interesting article. No matter the background, the info I have read indicates that Yush was right, that this was not a good deal for Ukraine.
The Bad Aspects:
1. The will pay appx $340 for the first quarter, but Germany pays about $240. Why should Germany pay so much less?
2. If Ukraine does not use a sufficient amount of gas, they will have to pay triple charges.
3. If Ukraine has to absorb a price increase, why shouldn't the Russians with the transit fees?
4. Ukraine will get a major increase in the transit rates to European levels in 2010, but then that rate will be locked in until 2019. but the price of gas will not be locked.
The Good:
1. Removal of the intermediaries. This part is awesome! For some reason, Yush opposed this.
2. The price of gas will float according to the price of oil, so as oil goes up or down, gas will also go accordingly.

I am no longer a fan of Yushenko, but he was right with his disagreement with Yulia on this issue. Russia was losing $100 million a day with the pipeline shut down and with oil prices being so low, this was something they could not afford. Remember, 80% of Russia's gas to Europe goes thru Ukraine, and this is very profitable money for Russia. Personally, I think they could have gotten a much better deal.

I am tempted to believe Yulia gave too much to the Russians because she was more concerned with "showing up" Yushenko.

Anonymous said...

Yulia gave too much to the Russians because she is more concerned with her political future and what Putin can do for her, than she is Ukraine or it's people.

white book 2008 said...

The recent crisis with the natural gas has shown once more the tragic political weakness of the European Union to intervene in the international scene, on its own benefit and with autonomy of choices. It’s just not possible that Europe cannot see what has been self-evident ie the fact that Russia has every reason to want to continue selling smoothly natural gas in Europe (especially today, where the fall in the price of oil brings down quite seriously its state revenues). Ukraine also has every reason to want to use Europe as a “shield” and as a tool of blackmail in order on the one hand to avoid paying the gas that it needs (or even not the whole amount) since it is on the verge of an economic breakdown and on the other hand to serve the American intentions for geopolitical encirclement and economic isolation of Russia. The recent agreement between Putin – Timoshenko, for the recovery of natural gas flow towards the West, is of course a positive step but not quite steady. There is always the danger of being subverted and cancelled by the intervention of the President of Ukraine, Yushenko, who is the main representative of the American policy in Kiev.

Europe should cooperate with Russia and avert this process. Europe must take off the glasses of the “Cold War” era, it must become independent of the oppressive American shadow and see its relations with Russia in realistic terms; we are no longer enemies but partners. The strategic plans of Washington, at least with the Bush administration, are non-symmetric with the European Union’s interests: The United States want to “put their feet” in the Caucusus region and they are indifferent if the European households will be freezing. What has happened last summer in Caucasus with the war in South Ossetia, should not happen again. Europe, captive of its own prejudices of the past and of its transatlantic commitments, has not condemned the unprovoked assault of the Saakasvhili regime against peace keeping forces and civilians and has chosen for its own the role of Pilate. If you want to see what has happened last year in Caucasus, visit the site www.whitebook2008.com. It is really interesting.

Anonymous said...

Spend money to send them to school, and this is the result. Ignorance personified!!!